An exhibition of Andy Warhol photographs from the 1970s to the mid-1980s will open at Gagosian Paris. Taken primarily during his travels to Paris, the images capture notable figures from the artist’s inner circle, including many key names in fashion, and depict well-known locations in the city. All works come from a distinguished collection which incorporates one of the widest selections of Warhol photographs in private hands.
Fashion was no longer what you wore somewhere; that was the whole reason to go there.
Warhol was a lifelong photographer and even had a darkroom in his family home when he was a young man. Best known for using a Polaroid camera, he also took photo booth tapes in the 1960s, and these became the source material for paintings reflecting his preoccupation with mechanical reproduction, serial repetition and the removal of the hand of the artist. In 1977, Swiss art dealer Thomas Ammann presented Warhol with a 35-millimeter Minox camera; this essential tool, which he called his “date”, was a constant companion in the last decade of his life.
The selection of photographs in this exhibition is organized into four thematic sections: Warhol, Paris, Fashion and Celebrities. It features unique gelatin silver prints, including self-portraits; views of metropolitan streets, buildings and monuments; and evocations of the capital’s fashion scene – and Polaroid portraits of French and international actors, designers and models enjoying their quarter of an hour of fame. In addition to his New York residence, Warhol kept an apartment in Saint-Germain-des-Prés. This facilitated him frequent visits to the capital, during which he made the city itself one of his regular subjects. The Parisian section of the rue de Castiglione exhibition includes photographs of local landmarks, including the Arc de Triomphe. A 1981 photo of Café de Flore, one of the city’s oldest cafés and one of the artist’s favorite haunts, was taken across Boulevard Saint-Germain. An image of Place Vendôme, which borders the gallery in the first arrondissement, captures the quintessentially Parisian architecture of the neighborhood.
The Warhol section of the exhibition includes two self-portraits that reflect the artist’s enduring fascination with his own image and his pop-cultural mediation. Andy Warhol on the cover of Façade magazine (c. 1977) depicts a sheet of prints from the titular composition, which features a 1977 photograph by Joël Le Bon of Warhol with model Edwige Belmore, aka the “Queen of Punk”. The Polaroid Self-Portrait in Scared Wig (1986) belongs to a series showing the artist sporting a wild silvery mop of artificial hair which contrasts, like his pale skin, with his sunglasses and the black background of the photo. The overwhelming drama and mystery of the composition seem to anticipate Warhol’s death a few months later, in February 1987. , Jean Paul Gaultier, Hubert de Givenchy and Sonia Rykiel. Also on display are several photographs commissioned by vogue—including two multi-plane collages, James Brown and the model (1984) and John Sex, Andre Walker and two unidentified men (c. 1984) – and examples of Polaroids commissioned by the always business-savvy Warhol for brands such as Halston (Shoes ) and Levi’s (Blue Jeans ).Finally, among the sparkling subjects of the Celebrity section of the exhibition is Warhol’s close friend and “Queen of the Night”, Régine Zylberberg. A Polaroid from 1977 shows the legendary club maven redhead – she created the world’s first nightclub, Chez Régine, in Paris, and pioneered the use of dual turntables as a music flow tool – dressed in a strapless evening dress and gazing off her shoulder at the viewer with a mischievous eye.
ANDY WARHOL Paris and fashion Opening: Thursday, September 8, 6-8 p.m. September 8-October 12, 2022 Gagosian 9 rue de Castiglione, Paris
About the artist
Andy Warhol was born in Pittsburgh in 1928 and died in New York in 1987. His collections include the National Library of France, Paris; Center Pompidou, Paris; Museum of Contemporary Art, Marseilles, France; Tate, London; Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt am Main, Germany; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Jumex Museum, Mexico City; Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul; and National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. Warhol’s work has been exhibited in museums and galleries around the world, including retrospectives at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1989) and the Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin (2001-02, traveled at the Tate Modern in London and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, 2002) and a survey of late works at the Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf, Germany (2004). Recent exhibits include ShadowsGuggenheim Bilbao, Spain (2016); Contact Warhol: Endless PhotographyCantor Arts Center, Stanford University, California (2018-2019); From A to B and back, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2018-2019); Tate Modern, London (2020); and Revelation, Brooklyn Museum, New York (2021–22). Warhol made about sixty experimental films as well as the television programs Andy Warhol’s TV (1982) and Fifteen Minutes of Andy Warhol (1986) and was the founding editor of Interview magazine.
Mark Westall is the founder and editor of FAD magazine, founder and co-editor of Art of Conversation and founder of the @worldoffad platform